Mac Pro vs. iMac for design apps

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by sffa, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. sffa macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    #1
    Hope for some good advice here as I decide what to buy as my new mac....Mac Pro vs the new 27" iMac, and with what upgrades/add-ons. I've been reading a ton online, but am still not sure on the tradeoffs for the kind of work I will be doing...which is 2D graphics apps like illustrator and photoshop mostly, and solidworks & autoCAD occasionally (3D in parallels).

    This machine will be my studio machine for at least 5 years. I am upgrading from a MBP 2008 which is too slow now, and chugs on graphics apps, especially after my Wacom Cintiq 24 HD touch tabled joined the mix.

    My 30" cinema display just died last week. RIP.

    Some reviews say that the iMac is now very close to the Mac Pro in performance, unless you are doing professional stuff, or you need a lot of upgradability/expansion. I'm an amateur, but I don't know if my planned usage is "professional" or not. As for upgradability, I don't know how to judge...I will be using this machine for 5 years...?

    If I trick out the 27" iMac with the processor, RAM, and graphics card and 1T flash drive, its just under $5K. That's about the max budget. What's the relative value of the iMac with all the bells and whistles, vs a Mac Pro (with what options?), considering I don't want to spend more than $5K for the whole system? And with the Mac Pro, I have to buy a display too...

    I am assuming the iMac will have no trouble driving my Wacom Cintiq 24DH Touch tablet with no delays or issues....?

    Any help or advice would be super. thanks.
     
  2. sigmadog macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    near Spokane, WA
    #2
    This would be my biggest concern. I'd be very interested in any info in this area, because I've read in a review the gpu for the retina iMac is stretched to its limit running that big screen.

    I'm a designer / illustrator who also uses the Wacom Cintiq (mine is the 22 HD) and in considering upgrading from my 2008 Mac Pro, I eliminated the iMac because of my uncertainty in its ability to run a second display long term. Also, I don't like a glossy screen, even a 5K one.

    On the other hand, I think the iMac would be fine for most all your design work. Illustrator doesn't benefit from more processors (at least the version I have which is CS6). Photoshop might be better off with more processors in some situations (effects, filters, etc.) but on a day-to-day basis, I suspect the i7 processor in the iMac will be just fine.

    Lots of graphic designers are quite happy with an iMac. Though 5 years might be a long time for a computer and screen locked together.

    I don't have any thoughts on the other apps (solidworks, AutoCAD, 3D, Parallels) you mention, as I don't use them.

    I had priced out a New Mac Pro and my minimum level configuration came in at around $5100 (6core / 32GB RAM / 1TB Flash / D300). This included a basic external storage option, but not a monitor. I think you might be able to get the 4 core option with a monitor for under $5K (if you are in the U.S.).
     
  3. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #3
    Either will be fine for your usage.

    Keep in mind that any 3D graphic apps (e.g. solidworks) running in Parallels are extremely hampered by the lack of 3D graphic acceleration, no matter how fast the GPU is. That might be fine if you're just using it for learning/school or small projects, but if that's a big part of your professional work, you'll want to use Boot Camp for CAD.

    For your usage, what it really comes down to is whether you want the integral screen. The nMP offers a little bit more in the way of expandability, but I don't think that's much of a practical concern for your usage. Also, the nMP is really quiet, even under load, if that's import to you.

    My only advice would be rather than spending $5K to trick out a Mac so you can get 5+ years out of it, consider spending less now and upgrading in 3 years. It will keep the performance roller-coaster a lot flatter. Just my 2 cents.
     
  4. sffa thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    #4
    Thanks much for the comments. Helpful!

    @sigmadog I talked to Apple about your comments on the iMac being challenged running the Cintiq 24HD Touch. They told me it would be fine, but I did not really get a great feeling from that as it was more "yes, it will be able to run a second external monitor". But, mostly -- I am really glad you mentioned the glossy vs. Matte thing. My 30" Cinema display was matte, which I really liked. At work I have a glossy display and I hate it...basically I never use it because of the the glare.

    @ixxx69 Thanks for the comments about flattening the performance curve over time, vs ponying up everything now.

    I think I will go for the nMP.
     
  5. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #5
    This is why I went with a nMP as well. If they offered the 5K iMac with a matte screen, I'd probably get one. But glossy screens are a no-go for me.

    Anyway, the nMP is an awesome computer, so enjoy. :)
     
  6. skottichan macrumors 6502a

    skottichan

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    #6
    Yeah, even my 2011 27" had no problem with my Cintiq.

    As to the glass screen, I've never really noticed a glare, but I'm sure if you have a light/window opposite of it, it would be a different story.
     
  7. Check 6 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    #7
    My 30" cinima display is also showing its age, what non glare monitor are you using. I have one of the last tower Mac Pro's Apple sold
     
  8. sigmadog macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    near Spokane, WA
    #8
    I have a pair of 23" Cinema Displays side by side along with my Cintiq. I've considered replacing them with a large 27" or 30" but I'm so used to this set up that when they go (which may not be long now) I may just replace them with another pair of 23" or 24" inch screens. I don't need 4K, and there are lots of decent 2K screens for very low prices, though I haven't looked for a few months.

    Also, I'm on a 2008 MP 3,1. which seems to still be cutting the mustard just fine, so as you can see, I stick with the old tech because we have lots in common.
     
  9. SmallDane macrumors member

    SmallDane

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2014
    Location:
    Denmark
    #9
    Then you will hate the iMac or Apple's Thunderbolt Display. They are both very glossy and a pain to work with if you have any light sources that might reflect in your screen.
     

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